Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, Shashi Tharoor, on Friday at while taking part in a discussion in Lok Sabha during question hour said that there has been alarming number of death of captive elephants in Kerala in last few years.
Tharoor while elaborating the captive elephants’ death issue of Kerala said that most of the captive elephants in Kerala have been smuggled from northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Tharoor said that cruelty towards elephants is at an all time high in Kerala. In 2016, 26 captive elephants have died, it was 20 in 2017 and till July of this year 18 captive elephants have been died. According to him, the captive elephants’ death rate was never seen before.
Tharoor alleged that the cruelty against elephant was taking place with tacit support of the authorities concerned. He said most of the problems suffered by captive elephants in the state were related to overwork and torture by unscrupulous mahouts.
In Kerala, elephant was now being subjected to parading in temple festival in Thiruvanvandoor in blatant violation of the existing rules. The mahouts put a gold-plated headgear that masks the severe wound on the elephant’s forehead.
He alleged that all elephant deaths in 2018 occurred in the premises of elephant contractors who supply them to temples and for tourism purposes after taking these beasts on rent from people who do not possess an ownership certificate.
Union Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism and Civil Aviation assured the House that Central govt. would take up the matter with concerned agencies to curb the captive elephant torture menace in Kerala.
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and the Declaration of Wildlife Stock Rules, 2003, prohibit anyone from taking custody of an elephant without possessing an ownership certificate. Tharoor said that there are 518 elephants in the state without an ownership certificate, most of them smuggled from Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.